Sixtieth session of the EMRO Regional Committee

27-30 OCTOBER 2013 | MUSCAT, OMAN

The Sixtieth Session of the Regional Committee for the Eastern Mediterranean took place from 27 to 30 October 2013 in Muscat, Oman bringing together 22 Member states of the region and the occupied Palestinian territory to discuss and endorse regional policies, activities and financial plans.

During the session, the Regional Committee was invited to take note of a paper on “Saving the lives of mothers and children” which highlights the importance of making maternal and child health a regional priority. The paper recalls the commitments laid out in the Dubai Declaration “Saving lives, Rising to the Challenge” which were agreed at a high-level meeting in January 2013 on saving the lives of mothers and children in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

Delegates at the meeting in January agreed to accelerate progress on improving maternal and child health between 2013 and 2015, reduce the gap between current funding levels and those required to meet Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 and detailed seven key concrete actions countries in the region needed to take to allow women and children access to the health services they need.

Following the Dubai meeting, ministries of health of 10 priority countries (with a high burden of maternal and child mortality), with technical support from WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA developed maternal and child health acceleration plans for the period 2013–2015. The plans focus on increasing coverage with the key cost-effective interventions across the continuum of care while addressing inequities in maternal and child health, and call for greater intersectoral collaboration. The plans also establish the basis for work on the post-2015 development goals.

The Committee discussed the regional situation of maternal and child health in terms of progress towards achieving the targets of MDGs 4 and 5.Member States shared the progress they have achieved in improving maternal and child health during the . Dr Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of The Lancet and Co-chair of the independent Expert Review Group on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, made a brief presentation on accountability emphasizing the importance of: 1) monitoring which requires a robust health information system; 2) review through a transparent, participatory process; and 3) remedy through a plan to accelerate progress and overcome barriers to success.

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